MR #23.02 Cook County Promise Guaranteed Income Pilot

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Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services Logo



  • The Cook County Promise Guaranteed Income Pilot was developed to benefit low-income Cook County residents and families facing economic hardship caused by COVID-19. This manual release will provide clarification on how these payments may affect eligibility for benefits.
  • Households who participate in the pilot will receive a cash payment of $500 a month for 24 months to provide economic stability, opportunity and security. 
  • Application registration began October 06, 2022 with a deadline of October 21, 2022, and selected participants were chosen using a lottery process. Registration was closed and the Cook County Promise Guarantee Income Pilot began with payment issuances beginning December 15, 2022.
  • In accordance with Public Act 101-0415, money received from the Cook County Promise Guaranteed Income Pilot is considered exempt unearned income for all Cash, SNAP, and Medical programs. 

Where allowed by federal law, Public Act 101-0415 allows financial assistance, wages, cash transfers, and gifts provided to an individual enrolled in a program or research project whose purpose is to investigate the impacts of policies or programs designed to reduce poverty, promote social mobility, or increase financial stability for Illinois residents to be excluded for the purposes of determining eligibility and benefit amount for public assistance.

Cook County Promise Guaranteed Income Pilot

The Cook County Promise Guaranteed Income Pilot launched September 14, 2022 and is being conducted by the Cook County Government and the Bureau of Economic Development.

The Pilot is designed to provide additional economic stability, opportunity and security to 3,250 low-income households by issuing a $500 monthly payment for twenty-four months with payments beginning December 15, 2022.

In order to participate in the lottery selection process, applicants must be a resident of Cook County, be 18 years or older, have experienced economic hardship related to COVID-19, and have a household income at or below 250% of the Federal Poverty Level. Also, residents or anyone in their household cannot be participating in another guaranteed income pilot(s).

Application registration began October 06, 2022 with a deadline of October 21, 2022.


Verification of income is required when determining eligibility for Cash, SNAP, and Medical programs. The monthly payment received from the pilot is considered exempt unearned income for the purposes of determining Cash, SNAP, and medical eligibility. 

The Cook County Promise Guaranteed Income Pilot is not considered a Work and Training program.


When entering income received from the Cook County Promise Guaranteed Income Pilot in IES, workers should enter the income based on the programs selected when processing an application or changes to an existing case. Workers should process as follows:

  • Applications with Cash, SNAP and/or Medical, select Other Exempt as the unearned income type on the Unearned Income-Details page.

Document in Case Comments the type of unearned income received and that it is exempt.

Manual Revisions

[signed copy on file]

Grace B. Hou

Secretary, Illinois Department of Human Services

Theresa Eagleson

Director, Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services